'That's all right.' Simon waggled his Diet Coke at me. 'Drink up and we'll put it in this.'

And so, huddling together under our bright red table, we surreptitiously prepared a cup of wine to toast our new-found freedom, glancing nervously round every few seconds at the hordes of women and children shrieking around us. We seemed to have got away with it and, relaxing, we sat back and sucked contentedly.

Simon, unfortunately, was a little too cavalier, and as he pushed his feet out with a sigh, he knocked into his bag. The carton of wine, balanced precariously on the top, hovered briefly and then fell with a splat on the floor. We stared at it in horror for a couple of seconds as a bright red stain spread inexorably out from our table to the small children gambolling nearby; as we scrabbled to retrieve the container, one of the women started sniffing, puzzled. The whole place stank of cheap wine, and I remembered my friend's advice about drinking during the month of fasting: 'The police, they will take you,' he had said, accompanying his words with an ominous stare and a disturbing series of hand gestures. We grabbed our bags and were halfway down the stairs by the time the screams started.